NBA Rumors Round-Up
NBA Rumors: Gasol Not Looking Forward to Free Agency
Marc Gasol didn’t enjoy being a free agent before and he’s not looking forward to it this summer.
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All of this is coming together in the final year of Gasol’s contract. Next summer he will emerge as the most valuable free agent on the market. He does not sound as if he is looking forward to it.
“I’ve been already through one,” he says of the summer of 2011, when as a restricted free agent he re-signed with the Grizzlies for $58 million over four years, “and I did not especially enjoy it. I don’t know how I’m going to feel in July. I really don’t. This is the next five years of my life and I’m going to go all in. Whatever team you play for, you’ve always got to feel like you represent that team, that you’ve got to play for it. Because that’s the way we grew up in Spain. You play for the city. You play for a way of doing things. It’s not about you. I do this for them. I play for the city, for the franchise or whatever. You’ve got to have that pride that comes with it.”
Do not misunderstand. Gasol is not complaining about the money and attention that is going to be thrown at him. “I’m pretty thankful for everything that happened,” he says.
Gasol is in the final year of his contract, making $15,829,688 this season, and then he’ll become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Many players look forward to testing the free agent market, because they like the attention they receive and the process of being courted by teams. However, that’s not the kind of person Gasol is, so it’s no surprise that he didn’t enjoy being in that position and isn’t excited about going through it again.
Many people around the NBA believe that Gasol will re-sign in Memphis, the only team he has played for and the city he has lived in since he was a teenager. Also, the fact that the Grizzlies are playing so well and seem in position to contend (this year and going forward) will likely help them in their pitch to Gasol. Mempis is currently 21-8 and one of the best teams in the loaded Western Conference.
Gasol will get a max contract from some team, as he has emerged as one of the NBA’s best centers. While the Grizzlies will do everything they can to keep him, there will be a long list of teams pursuing the star big man including large-market organizations like the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.
If Gasol returns to Memphis, the Grizzlies will have all of their core players back next season. The 29-year-old is having the best year of his career, averaging 20.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 3.8 assists.
“The question I have, which is kind of bothering me sometimes, is when a player decides to decide his own fate, there is always questions about it?” James said. “And, ‘Why did this guy do that, do that and do this?’ When an organization decides to go elsewhere for a player, it’s that they did what’s best for the team. Let’s figure that out some time.”
Many players feel this way – that there is an unfair double standard since they get criticized for changing teams as a free agent (when their contract is up and they have no obligation to stay), but executives don’t get any criticism for moving a player (before their contract is up).
This is something that many players think about and say to one another, and it’s something that we’ve written before on this site.
Awhile back, we did a story about specific situations where players were promised they wouldn’t be traded, only to be shipped away several hours later before the trade deadline. This is the worst kind of move, as players often reassure their families and friends that they’re safe, and then have to backtrack and relocate everyone shortly after having that conversation.
The NBA is obviously a business, and everyone involved knows that, but there is definitely a different reaction to free agents leaving a team and executives trading a player. It’s unfair, as LeBron James points out, and he’s likely trying to change this double standard by discussing it on a national stage.
Flip tells the media that Ricky participated in some 5-on-0 during shootaround today. Says its good to see him on the floor again #Twolves
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) December 27, 2014
This is good news for the Timberwolves because it means that Ricky Rubio is progressing on the expected timetable and nearing a return to the court. Earlier this month, Flip Saunders said that Rubio would likely return in early January and he seems to be on track for that.
Rubio was ruled out indefinitely after he badly sprained his left ankle in a game against the Orlando Magic in early November. At the time, the timetable for Rubio to come back was seven-to-nine weeks.
Prior to the injury, Rubio was averaging 9.4 points and 10 assists for the Timberwolves, while serving as the face of the franchise after Kevin Love’s departure. A week and a half before the injury occurred, Rubio agreed to a four-year, $55 million contract extension with Minnesota.
Resuming five-on-zero workouts is a good first step for Rubio to test his ankle and hopefully he’ll continue to make progress.
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